I was going to write about celebrity beekeepers. I’d been brewing an elaborate tale in my head for weeks about Solana, the diva, who only eats babaghanoush and suns herself on patios while her bees feed on peach blossoms outside her bay window. And about Rhonda, the feisty one, who attends awards ceremonies in cocktail dresses with no underwear on beneath her skirts, and who prefers to strut on mirrored floors. And maybe there would be a man in there, just maybe one male beekeeper, a boy slave who keeps the bees organized, because Solana and Rhonda are preoccupied with being photographed from flattering angles. The sweet, innocent boy-child, with a clownish name like, Oh, I don’t know, Defithedra, something invented, because he is mythic basically, living in the shadow of the B-List celebs who call themselves beekeepers, while they wave their martinis around on the red carpet, though Defithedra does all the work. His name rhymes with Ephedra because he’s always up, always keeping those bees in line, always cracking the whip on those ornery insects. Slave and slavedriver.
The diva and the slut move seamlessly through the night, at events of great importance, while their bees toil in wax, and the boy slave only occasionally gets paid because his employers always forget to cut him a check. They are forgetful because they are often flying on jets between countries, and who wants to write checks while seated on a private plane? Oops, they tell him, we left our checkbooks at home, and Difethedra can’t pay his rent but he’s so dedicated to the bees that he can’t abandon them, for if he quits the bees will be orphaned, no one will recommend different pollens, no one will suggest they eat sage now, clover later. Rhododendron this afternoon? He asks his bees. Buckwheat bud? Thistle hair? The bees need guidance. Bees need structure. They build honeycombs. I mean, who would tell them what kind of honey to make if Difethedra left them? He works for a pittance, and the celebrity beekeepers take all the credit for the petite jars of honey they pass out at dinners, galas and benefit brunches.
I was going to write a story about the three-tiered employee pyramid in which ladies hoard acknowledgments that should really go towards the miraculously generous boy slave and his bee carnival. When I give honey as a gift, I don’t take credit for making that honey. If I had a bee colony of my own, I would individually name my bees and label that honey according to which bee shat it out as waste product, wishing I could make honey in my ass, dreaming of the day I could squeeze into a hexagon to produce something so sweet that people pay twenty dollars for a dab of it. Bees are the real celebrities on this planet.
But to turn this into a real story with real characters, would be to macerate the metaphor. The allegory is already obvious, right? People taking credit and calling themselves celebrities and failing to spread the wealth. I decided not to write that story, because Dorothy Allison said not to write in anger, that a text is better with distance between anger and the self. Let anxiety’s allegory emerge in hindsight, let the metaphor sink in, glorious metaphor! I can write that angry story about the privileged class treading on the less fortunate in one word now, —Bees. The word bees encapsulates it. Every time I see a bee hovering over the jade plant in my yard from now on the metaphor will click and I will think of Babylon and my hatred of capitalism. And I hope it doesn’t enrage me, I hope it doesn’t, because I might take it out, accidentally, on innocent bees. I might see The Celebrity Beekeepers, instead, when I look at those black and yellow buzzbots.
See? It’s already happening, I can’t look at bees anymore. Whatever, it’s for the best because I’m allergic to bees. I was trying to find a way to hate bees anyway. It was torture loving something that could kill me. Not like loving something that can kill me is a new concept, but bees, before this very moment, this turning point, embodied my selfdestructive force. I haven’t had the wherewithal to dual with my self-destructive force in any complete way, but that’s another story. The sad story, right here right now, is that I suddenly detest bees, they remind me of the snooty women who will try to steal their honey, The Celebrity Beekeepers, those proprietary madames who claim ownership of bees underhandedly, who humiliate bees into submission. Don’t even get me started on this, I hate bees so much now. I despise bees because of their symbolic affiliation with potential enslavement. Though, I have that potential too, that potential to be enslaved. Does that mean I have to hate myself as well?